How Do I Access Google Maps and Earth?

Google Earth is available either as a free download for either Macs or Windows computers or as a plugin for most browsers.

You need to log in to your Gmail account (either Hamilton or personal) in order to create, save and share Google Maps. If you use your Hamilton account, you can also create and share maps for group editing just like any other Google document. Please follow the steps at Accessing Google Maps via Your Hamilton Account.

What can I do with Google Maps/Earth?

See our page of sample student mapping projects; most of these use Google Maps or Google Earth.  See sample suggestions for using Google Maps in educational projects.

See some examples of what you can do with “50 Things to do with Google Maps” or “50 MORE Things to do with Google Maps” (both from the blog Google Maps Mania).

How to put your data into Google Maps or Google Earth

Google Maps allows users to locate and place points onto a map and add photos, descriptions and links.  One can also upload an entire file of places and addresses (CSV, XLSX or KML) and select different base maps.  It's also easy to export maps as KMZ files and open up in Google Earth to create a tour.  All this and more is explained in their Help Guide (see also the complete list of online tutorials).

Some web services enable you to enter your data into a Google Map and display it on your website or create a link to it on the host's site (which may be necessary if you wish to share the map more broadly than the Hamilton community):

  • Plug-and-Play Maps “lets you create engaging, interactive thematic maps in your web pages with 1 short line of code.”
  • ZeeMaps enables you to create maps with your own locational data (including uploading an Excel file, for example for a large number of addresses).
  • Maptive has a nice user interface for entering data with several options for displaying the maps in your website.
  • MapAList will map from Google spreadsheets or forms.

If you have a large number of addresses that need to be validated, you can use Batch Geocode, which can produce a file for either Google Maps or Google Earth.  For just a few addresses, try this lat-long converter. You can also try searching through TAMU Geoservices for geocoding, reverse geocoding, and address parsing and standardization.

Google Earth has a fantastic User Guide which will show you not only how to use GE but also how to create your own layers of interesting places.

Google Earth Pro includes layers for Earth, Sky, Moon, and Mars, plus the Flight Simulator.  This version is free for educators (with an EDU account).

ColorBrewer offers color advice for cartography and has been carefully designed to be a diagnostic tool for evaluating the robustness of individual color schemes. 

There is actually more than one blog dedicated to Google Maps and Google Earth. Who knew?

Google Maps Blog
Google Maps Mania
Google Earth Community Forums
Google Earth Blog

Last updated: April 26, 2023


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